Monday, January 28, 2013

Get in Gear 2013!

Tomorrow after class I'm signing up for the Get in Gear program with UCD. Its essentially a 5 week fitness challenge. You take an initial fitness/health test and then for the next five weeks you can choose to sign up for as few or as many fitness classes at varying levels of intensity(low, medium, and high). At the end of the 5 weeks you take another fitness/health test and see how far you've come! They have Zumba, pole dancing (I mean come on, if something like that is offered I have no choice but to try it) and a class who's description sounds a lot like the Body Attack class I used to take at my gym back in NC plus tons more. I'm really excited to just jump right back into my old favorites and try out some new things like kettle bells. I've always preferred fitness classes to only doing the elliptical or the treadmill.

My roommate Tracy told me about the program today, which also happened to be the day that I decided to get back on track with my health. I've been eating A LOT of takeaways and frozen pizzas since I moved into the house and it was making me feel so lethargic. Because I don't have a car and I walk everywhere I hadn't gained much weight, but I hate eating that way. Plus, I love to cook so it really wasn't making sense. I just got into some bad lazy habits. Anyway, today I was back to my healthy ways and even just after today I already feel so much better. I made an awesome taco-inspired salad for dinner and it was super tasty!

A couple tablespoons of salsa as dressing--yum!

Not to mention the fact that I'm the maid of honour in Bridget's upcoming August wedding so I need to be looking my best by then :) 

Here's to getting fit and eating clean in Dublin in 2013!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel" Old Crow Medicine Show comes to Dublin!

One of my favorite bands is coming to Dublin on Wednesday and I'm headed to the show with a couple of friends! Old Crow Medicine Show are kind of bluegrass-y, rock and country but not really any of those things at all. Apparently they've been influenced strongly by Bob Dylan, and you can definitely hear his influence in their songs.

Their song "Wagon Wheel" is kind of an ode to Raleigh, NC and whenever it comes on at the bars back home everyone stops what they're doing and sings every word. I'm SO excited to get to see them here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Have a Little Faith, plus a Roman 24th Birthday :)

Life is good--This past week I got to spend 5 days in Rome with one of my friends from home, Carly, and my friend Sarah who I met in Dublin. I had been a few years ago, so it was pretty awesome to go a second time. I got to see the Coliseum, the Forum and the Vatican again. I really enjoyed getting to notice new and different things the second time around.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Lacoon--my favorite sculpture

Carly's cute ballerina bun, snapping a shot inside St. Peter's

Cannoli, gelato and a cappuccino--what more could a girl need?

Salmon and prawn risotto--can you tell half of Rome's charm is it's food? :)

But the best part of my trip to Rome was when Sarah and I found the Scala Santa just next to the San Giovanni in Laterno cathedral. The Scala Santa are holy stairs that were brought to Rome by the Emperor Constantine's mother, St. Helena, in 326 AD from Jerusalem. They were the steps that led to Pontius Pilot's offices and are reportedly the very steps that Jesus walked up when he went to speak with Pilot just before his crucifixion. There are still a few spots on the steps where drops of blood can be seen. After searching around for a couple of hours with no luck in finding the Scala Santa we finally found them in a completely undecorated and plain looking building. When we walked through the doors, however, there was a palpable sense of awe and I immediately knew our searching was well worth the effort. For a few minutes we just stood and watched as other pilgrims climbed the Scala Santa on their hands and knees-a requirement to ascend the stairs as a sign of respect. Watching people from every corner of the globe undertake this pilgrimage filled me with gratitude for the opportunity to climb them myself and awe of what I was looking at.

As Sarah and I walked up to the stairs and knelt down on the first step I tried to take in everything around me-the beautiful frescoes on the walls, the ancient marble beneath my knees, the visible drops of blood, the elderly woman undertaking the climb and fully prostrating herself on the stairs. I was overcome with feelings. To visually witness faith in action is staggeringly beautiful. The people climbing these steps may have been motivated by faith in a Christian God and Jesus Christ, but to just think that faith in whatever form or religion you choose is enough to send you half way around the world on a pilgrimage to pay respect and honour to something bigger than yourself is amazing. Faith pushes humanity forward and gives it something to hold onto when things are so dark that there seems to be no way out. Its what has convinced me that there is a beautiful place and Someone who loves all of humanity enough to let us have an entire lifetime of learning and growth. Faith is the reason I know my mom is resting and full of joy and was smiling down on Sarah and I as we reached the top step of the Scala Santa with bruised knees and souls overflowing with faith, love and gratitude. In short, it was one of the most unique, amazing and simple experiences of my life. I would never trade that half hour for anything.

Scala Santa
And on top of all of that, I turned 24 while we were in Roma! Carly and Sarah got me balloons and a princess crown and the day was just perfect. We stopped for cappuccini, strolled all over the city and had a dinner out. I couldn't have asked for anything better! I'm so lucky to have such thoughtful and amazing friends! 

My second semester at UCD starts tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to my classes this semester. I hope everyone's weeks are off to a fabulous start! 

Erin xoxo